Buying property in Spain and Portugal: What a difference 2 years can make!

I recently read an article published on The Telegraph website which reviewed the world’s top 20 places to invest in property abroad (

The article is over two years old now (written in January 2014) and I was thinking about how the list might be different should it have been written in early 2016 rather than early 2014. Of the 20 locations listed there are 12 in Europe, 4 in the Americas and 4 in Asia.

Following the global crash in house prices people saw an opportunity to invest; an opportunity that perhaps was not open to them prior to the crash. Looking at this from a European only point of view the two stand out countries are Spain and Portugal. Prior to the crash many jumped on the bandwagon of owning a second property in one of these countries. Falling prices left many people with a bad hangover from buying these properties and prevalent horror stories only made matters worse. Even stepping back 2 years ago to early 2014 there was still little appetite for investment in Spain or Portugal.

Now we are in 2016 and the hangover has certainly faded! Most economists agree that the world economy is again on the rise. Economic indicators in countries such as Spain and Portugal still indicate many challenges in the economy (unemployment is still around 20% in Spain and 12% in Portugal) but in general times they have arisen from the ashes and all key indicators are showing growth; including in house prices. People across Europe are again looking at Spain and Portugal and seeing tremendous value for their Euro along with the other delights that typically go with such countries (climate, low cost living, proximity to beach, regular and cheap flights, etc.). The type of buyer has not really changed much since the days before the economic crash although they are typically more cash rich these days (perhaps as a result of the more disciplined bank activity we now see). One recent article I read indicated that 1 in 3 families in the UK have access to a family home each year through another family member. The people buying up the properties appear then to be families rather than investors, always a more stable structure.

So where from here? I was flicking through our propertyunder99k website recently ( and many of the recent properties being entered are from Spain and Portugal. Many of the properties are similar to ones that sold for twice that value and more just 10 years ago. And most importantly properties are turning over. Not like years ago when we could have had a property for 12-18 months they now seem to be sold within the typical 8-12 weeks. My conclusion: Families are buying a second home again and there is value to be had but it won’t be here forever!

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